Zim minister forecasts higher economic growth

Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by 8,1% this year on the back of increased tobacco production, up from his previous forecast of 5,4%, reports said on Friday.

“In the mid-term budget, we announced that we had revised our projected growth rate from 7,7% to 5,4% in July because of slow performance of the economy in the first half of the year,” state-run daily the Herald quoted Biti as saying.

“I am pleased to advise a major rebound in the second half of the year. Growth projections for December 2010 would be 8,1% because of a serious rebound in agriculture.”

Biti singled out the tobacco crop, the report said.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season ended early this month with a record 122-million kilogrammes having been sold.

This years’ crop output surpassed the initial 77-million kilogrammes anticipated at the start of the year.

According to government estimates, tobacco accounts for more than 50% of agricultural exports — which translates to about 30% of Zimbabwe’s total exports.

Zimbabwe’s economy is showing signs of recovery since the formation of a power-sharing government between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Southern Africa country’s economy grew by 4,7% last year, ending 12 years of contraction. — Sapa-AFP

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